Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keeping Memories Safe

A couple of years ago I became consumed with keeping memories safe. I'm pretty organized, so as I was going through drawers or jewelry boxes or tubs in the attic, I would find things, especially small things, that I worried we would lose track of if they weren't put somewhere. Somewhere important. They weren't valuable things, really. But no money could replace them either. Like Jake's Batman pin he wore on his jean jacket at his 5th birthday party. And Vaughn's teething ring and Crackerjack toys. Our class rings. Some birds from our wedding cake. You get the idea. Oh, and what about Grandma's red wallet? I would lay in bed and worry about these things not being appreciated if something was to happen to me, or to the holder of the story, whoever they might be.

This piece came from a garage sale. I don't even know what it was in a former life. Maybe it had a mirror in the center and attached to a buffet? Regardless, it was open in the middle, so I immediately thought it should be a frame for something special. Vaughn put a piece of thin plywood in the hole and I covered it with batting and fabric. And then it became our "museum". It's full of memories that can't get lost. Such a neat place of honor for the knives Vaughn traded for in first grade. (This alarms me. I teach first grade. Times have sure changed.) What a neat way to remember the little red toy rooster we dug up at our first home. The Eagle Scout pins the boys gave us at their award ceremonies. I could go on and on with the stories. No need. All these memories are safe now.

Same museum, different home.

Shadow boxes were next on the agenda. Vaughn was kind enough to build me a few. They live above the piano...always have.

One for the Romberg's, who were Vaughn's mother's parents. Grandmother was known for her All Bran Refrigerator Rolls, so the handwritten recipe card was a must. The tatted red bookmark she made me. A photo that includes Vaughn with a pistol in his shorts. Cute! Vaughn's grandpa's knife, a pencil. The dial portion of the phone Grandmother used until her death, with her phone number on it.

This is another shadow box for my granny and grandpa on my mom's side, the Hiltibidal's. (You read that right.) It's easy to see I have fewer items that belonged to Granny. Her cookbook has her signature inside. There's a photo of us kids with Granny and her second husband, Roy.

The third shadow box is dedicated to the Smith's, who were my dad's parents. Cora is named after this grandma, whose full name was Cora Adeline Grace Smith. Grandma loved a red wallet. Always. And I have her last one. (And I carry a red wallet too.) George Thomas Smith was in WWII and wrote his infant son, Jim (my dad) a sweet note while away. His dog tags are here too. And the silver dollar Grandma and Grandpa gave me when I was young.

I lost track of some memories. But these are razors that belonged to our grandfathers. I don't know which is which. But they're safely tucked in this shadow box I got from Hobby Lobby on sale.

More Hobby Lobby shadow boxes. They usually go on half price every other week or so.

On the left...
This darling outfit was Vaughn's when he was a baby. And we even have a photo of his sister, Pam, holding him with it on. Thank you, Sandra, for keeping so many things for me to treasure.

And on the right...
Both of our boys were Eagle scouts, so Vaughn made large shadow boxes for their badges and documents. I was feeling a little jipped, I guess, so I chose to showcase my little sash from Orioles and O'Teens (similar to Girl Scouts) from many a year back. Ha. You can see I didn't stick with it like my sons did.

We all have stories of our lives. Stories we've heard for years about the old piano, who gave him that medal, how many years we've had this or that. Let's keep all our stories alive, People. And what is so cool about decorating with them once preserved is, your home has meaning. It's personal. It's who you are.


  1. Oh Tracey, I absolutely love your shadow boxes!!! They are wonderful and priceless!!

    I need to do this very thing.

  2. Thank you, Mary Ann. I thought you had seen these before. They are one of my favorite things in my house.

    Come see 'em in person!

  3. Hi Tracy, I found out about your blog through my daughter Jenny. this is Vaughan's cousin Karen. I am touched by the well bucket story. I too have many hand written letters from my own chidden that are priceless as well as many memories hand written by grandmother about her life growing up. I am honored and proud to have my first granddaughter named after grandmother.  Sometimes I feel they are here with us. A couple weeks before Grace's first birthday I was going through a box looking for something to give her from grandmother on her special day and among my treasures was an old green and white sham rocky handkerchief which was such a surprise to me because Grace was born on St. patrick's day, it was the perfect gift.  Hope all is well with the family, unfortunately my dad is now in a nursing home.Hard to watch him age not so gracefully.  I also enjoyed your comment on Grandmothers All Bran rolls since for the last 10 Christmas's I have tried to make them and they have never been fluffy like her's or my own Mother's. However, every year I announce to my family that this will be the year of the best rolls.
    send my love to all


Make my day and leave a comment. I read every single one.